Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fate (Finished)

I "finished" Fate yesterday.

I say "finished" because the game can go on essentially forever, traveling deeper and deeper into the dungeon. However, Foozle is on Level 47, and once you've taken care of both him and his various minions, your character has the option to retire.

How long did I play? About thirty-five hours--I really took my time and enjoyed myself.

How much did the game cost? $19.99.

Price per hour? Fifty-seven cents.

It's a terrific, fun game. The design is outstanding and it's bug-free. It's far better than games with fifty times the budget. It also has this brilliant quality of making you want to play for just ten or fifteen minutes more. Then ten or fifteen minutes beyond that. When you look up, several hours have passed--and you still don't want to quit.

I've seen reviews by PC Gamer and Gamespot that both rate it at 79% (in Gamespot's case, 7.9 on a 10-point scale. Both reviews were very positive in tone, then didn't give the game that high of a score. I'd rarely say this, but I can't stress strongly enough how much these scores vary from my own experience with the game, and from your experience as well, based on the ton of e-mail I've received in the last week.

I've gotten more positive feedback from people who've tried this game after my original column than any game I've written about in the last three years. So while both reviewers I've read felt the game was too "repetitive," it doesn't seem to be bothering us at all.

Here's the ironic thing: I was never that crazy about Diablo. I finished the first one, but when I was done, I felt like the slogan for the game should have been "Welcome to Diablo: click one million times." Then, I played Diablo II for about two hours and quit, because the slogan for that game should have been "Welcome to Diablo II: click one million times at a slightly higher resolution." So Fate was absolutely addictive to me when I don't even like these kinds of games.

Here are a couple of quick tips for those of you who are interested.
--pour skill points into Critical Strike. It doubles damage when it happens, and that's fairly often if you get it into the 40+ level.
--also pour skill points into Charm Magic. This makes your pet more powerful. Big, big advantage.
--To use a healing potion out of your quick-slot items directly on your pet, hold down the Shift key while right-clicking on the potion.
--to sell items out of your pet's inventory, hold down the Shift key while clicking on the vendor. It will then open up your pet's inventory instead of your own.
--Town Portal spells and Identify spells can be purchased in books of ten.

Brilliant game. And charming. And fun.

I forgot to mention that Andy Stingel, Dubious Quality Board of Directors member, originally recommended Fate to me. All credit goes to him for finding this jewel.

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